The growing prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the US has been well documented. In the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Chicago's near northwest side, investigators worked with community organizations to design and conduct a health needs assessment. In this survey, 21% of Puerto Rican adults reported that they had been diagnosed with diabetes;this finding was supported by subsequent analysis of death certificate data. When the investigators shared these results with community residents and local organizations, there was an overwhelming and broad-based call for action. A subsequent task force and community forum led to development of a plan to address the problem. Block-by-Block - The Humboldt Park Campaign against Diabetes builds on community strengths to increase the early detection of diabetes and involves an entire neighborhood in efforts to enhance self-management by those with the disease. Our community-academic partnership proposes a neighborhood engagement approach to ameliorating the impact of diabetes on the lives of 13,000 adults living in a 72 block section of the Humboldt Park neighborhood, a medically underserved area on the near northwest side of the city of Chicago. Rush University Medical Center and two community based organizations (the Humboldt Park Community of Wellness and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center) will develop and deliver a multi-level community intervention using a media campaign, community engagement, and individual self- management training by a "Diabetes Block Captain". Neighborhood residents working as Diabetes Block Captains will conduct household screenings for diabetes and then will engage their neighbors in activities that promote diabetes self-management. This approach seeks to support residents in changing the culture within the target community, to make diabetes a neighborhood priority, and to address the cultural and social environment to support healthier lifestyles. Study outcomes will include an average reduction in Hemoglobin A1c of 0.5 over two years, improved rates of self-management behaviors, and a 25% increase in new cases of diabetes diagnosed. All aspects of the design, implementation, and dissemination of findings of this study, will be conducted using Community Based Participatory Research methodology.
This study will allow us to develop and evaluate an approach to reducing diabetes health outcomes disparities in a medically underserved inner city community. By identifying strategies that can be implemented by community members themselves in collaboration with health professionals, the results will inform efforts by other communities that suffer excess years of life lost from chronic diseases such as diabetes.